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Muse of the Week: Pasquale Maria Salerno, il fotografo

01 March 2011

Hello chicklets,

I am coming to you today fresh off two photo-shoots and a story about my favorite muse in Italy. That would be photographer Pasquale Maria Salerno. He and I met in January when we did an amazing vintage style shoot at a city villa outside of Florence and he has been my favorite photographer since then and has become a fast friend, confidante, and creative muse.
Vintage shoot




Luckily for you, I have managed to talk him into--he's shy and a behind the scenes sort of guy-- answering some questions for you readers and also to share some of his work with you all. I am sure you too will sense his passion for the art of photography as you read his story and see his portraits. I personally think that he is a bit of a creative genius, but do not tell him that I said so, it may go to his head. :D

I personally think with this move towards everything retro that he has a bright future ahead of him and I look forward to seeing where his talents take him.

He and I just completed an urban styled shoot this past Saturday with a model from San Diego and I look forward to sharing some of the images with you all in the upcoming week. But until then enjoy!


1. What's your name and what do you do? Do you have a blog or site that showcases your work?
I'm Pasquale Maria Salerno, I'm a photographer, I'm a classical philologist, I'm an IT salesman. I'm a son of these times! :)
I run my website, http://www.impossiblephotos.com, I have a tumblr, http://impossiblephotos.tumblr.com, and I also have flickr, http://www.flickr.com/papequito.

2. How long have you been a photographer?
I was a professional photojournalist from 1991 to 1996, then I gave up after a short period in fashion photography. 
Then I got back to it in 2003, but it's not my main revenue source anymore. Which I don't know if it's a bad thing, nowadays: I would never take pictures with an iPhone, sorry!!! LOL

3. Why did you go into photography?
I've always liked to connect with people, and I've always thought humans are nothing but social beings. Photography for me has always been all about relationship with people and their matters, with people and the way they look at me and at themselves... I really couldn't take pictures of things or objects and enjoy it in any way.

4. Where have you worked? What kind of work have you done. i.e.(fashion, interiors, landscape etc)
I started working on assignments in 1991 for one of the main Italian newspaper (La Repubblica), traveling in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and I became a professional photojournalist in '93.
Then I moved for a short period of time to Milano, following my photo-editor (ah, l'amore! LOL) in the fashion publishing press. But at that time I was pretty much quixotic and idealistic, and I just gave up because fashion business, icons and people were a bit too much "light, or pretentious" for me...
Meanwhile photojournalism in Italy (and in the whole world) was dying, newspapers started using more and more stock photos, pictures from photo agencies, "user-generated content", getting rid of their own pro photographers because they cost too much, and because anybody can call him/herself a photographer only by picking up any digital crap at the mall and shooting away, usually for free!
But seriously, I just felt I had enough with photography - years later I understood it was not photography that made me sick, but just the people and the way the business used it. And this still makes me sick, but I'm lucky enough not to care about this too much, and just to do whatever I like, regardless of what's hip and what's not.
So after a long pause, I came back to photography in 2003 and I'm still in it.

5. What kind of work do you like to do?
What I like today is to keep my "photojournalistic approach" shooting "fashionista" stories, playing with the "fashion game" - also the vintage fashion game.
And I still like shooting people in the streets, wherever I go. It's relaxing and socializing - I mean: there's a real world of real people out there, can you hear me, Mr. Facebook? And I love it.
I like creative collaborations with talented people, because I never feel to be the sole author of a photograph: I can take a photograph, but if a MUA is great, and a model is great, and a stylist is great, then that's a team, and that's the added value I'm always looking for!  - the human added value! Nothing to do with photo-shoppers/graphic designers/retouch artists! It is way better and fun and "enlightening". And real! 
Ya know, after all, I just push a button...! ;)
Because of this "unique style", which is actually more expensive than the "digital style", I get jobs from time to time – look-books, catalogues, editorials - and I still call myself a professional. But many - professionals are just amateurs - would not agree with that.
But that's another (and longer) story, and frankly I couldn't care less! :)

6. What kind of camera equipment do you use?
I'm a film-only photographer, and I just use mechanical cameras: 35mm, medium format, but rarely large format film.
I develop my film by myself, I print my black and white photos... I cannot - and I do not want to - split the physical side of photography - the negative, the print - and the "image". An image coming straight from a digital camera sensor is, as I said, just an "image".
To be called a "photograph", an image needs to start from a film frame, from a physical negative, in my opinion. The rest is a different thing, and to be honest it's mainly (99%) bullshit.

7. What would you like to do in the future in the world of photographer?
I just would like to keep doing my thing at best: shooting what I like on film, making prints, exhibit them, pushing this "niche market" to see its potential flourish... just to check if what the market really needs is just all this digital badly photo-shopped crap that's around, or also some old style hand crafted photographic work!
I'm a niche photographer, and that's who I'm happy to be.

© All rights reserved, Pasquale Maria Salerno










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